How Ukrainian children use art to detail trauma of war

When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the Bykovetz family to flee Kyiv in February, 6-year-old Sonya took the toys she could carry. What she left behind, she remembers through drawings: On one piece of paper is a colored picture of her cat.

The United Nations reports that 90% of the nearly 5 million people that escaped Ukraine are women and children.

To help Sonya deal with the trauma, her parents post her artwork online and created the site, UA Kids. They also collect drawings from other Ukrainian children and post them online.

“We know that children want to have an appreciation… to feel them like [they are] not alone but part of a bigger community,” Artem and Anastasiia Bykovets told CBS News’ Roxana Saberi.

The drawings come from children ages 5 and older. Each child uses a picture to tell a story. Some pictures display soldiers, bombs and death.

“Maybe it’s very hard for them to speak about it. They don’t know what’s going on,” Artem said.

Artem and Nastia left their home but decided to stay in Ukraine, searching for safety in different towns. They said they believe encouraging kids to draw can also help parents like them.

“Sending them to sit somewhere and turn on their fantasy and put it on the paper, give to the parents also an opportunity to recharge the battery,” Artem said.

“We hope that people looking on these pictures can feel compassion to support kids, to support Ukraine,” said Anastasiia.

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